William Henry Jackson
Frank A. Rinehart
Brushing Against, Little Squint Eyes, San Carlos Apaches, 1898.
In 1898, Frank Rinehart was commissioned to photograph Native Americans attending the Trans-Mississippi Exposition and Indian Congress in Omaha, Nebraska. Together with his assistant, Adolph Muhr, Rinehart produced a series of portraits that has been described as “one of the best photographic documentations of Indian leaders at the turn of the century.” Many of these graceful and dignified portraits were taken by Muhr, of whom former photographic curator at the University of Kansas’ Spencer Art Museum, Tom Southall said:
The dramatic beauty of these portraits is especially impressive as a departure from earlier, less sensitive photographs of Native Americans. Instead of being detached, ethnographic records, the Rinehart photographs are portraits of individuals with an emphasis on strength of expression. While Muhr was not the first photographer to portray Indian subjects with such dignity, this large body of work which was widely seen and distributed may have had an important influence in changing subsequent portrayals of Native Americans.
Frank Rinehart started his career as a photographer with his brother Alfred in Denver, Colorado in the 1870s. Together they formed a partnership with explorer and photographer William Henry Jackson—famed for his photos of life in the American West and for creating the image of “Uncle Sam.” It was under Jackson’s tutelage that Rinehart developed his craft.
Today the Frank A. Rinehart Photograph Collection consists of 809 glass plate negatives that depict many of the Native Americans who attended the Trans-Mississippi Exposition and Indian Congress, as well as those whom Rinehart photographed at his studio in Omaha between 1899-1900.
More from the Rinehart Collection can be viewed here.
Calls Her Name, Sioux, circa 1989-1900.
Ahahe & Child, Wichita, 1898.
Black Horse, Arapahoe, 1900.
Many more after the jump…